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My Favorite Breakfast: Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa

18 May

This is my absolute FAVORITE breakfast.  It is adapted from Jessica Seinfeld’s book, “Double Delicious”.  The premise of the book is that Jessica uses vegetable purees to hide in food to make it more healthy and to help you get your daily dose of vegetables in all their vitamin- and mineral-packed goodness.

Before I share the recipe, I’d like to tell you all how much my family and I LOVE this cookbook.  It is absolutely amazing.  I have made every single lunch/dinner recipe and a few of the breakfasts.  I have also made some of the desserts that YES, have vegetable purees in them.  My husband still doesn’t believe to this day that the Cherries Jubilee Brownies had spinach in them.  OH YES THEY DID!  Styles absolutely despises vegetables, especially cauliflower.  He vomits like Linda Blair every time he eats cauliflower but thanks to this book, he eats it a few times a week without knowing it.  No knowledge = no vomit.  WIN.  I generally make a menu for the week before I go grocery shopping.  This not only saves you money, but time too.  As a BUSY mom, I need all the time I can get.  The menu and grocery list take about 15 minutes to set up and then off to the store I go.  When I get home (and after I’ve put my groceries away), I begin the process of steaming and pureeing my vegetables for the entire week.  I generally have left over inventory from the week before so it generally involves steaming and pureeing 2-3 vegetables.  I’ve found that for my busy schedule, it is easiest to get frozen veggies to steam and puree than it is to clean, chop, and steam fresh veggies.  According to Dr. Oz, frozen veggies have more nutrients anyways!

I highly recommend that you run out and get this cookbook now.  RIGHT NOW.  DO IT!

Here’s the recipe for your oral-sensory pleasure:

Cinnamon Maple Quinoa

Prep: 20 min

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

*1-1/4 cup water

*1 cup quinoa

*1 Tablespoon trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread (I use Smart Balance)

*1/2 cup sweet potato puree*

*1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

*1/3 cup skim milk

*1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I usually throw in just a shake more)

*pinch of salt

*for garnish:  1 teaspoon maple syrup & 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts of almonds per serving

Directions:

1.  In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in cold water and strain (this is SUPER important, people).  Add the quinoa to the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 12 minutes, uncovered.  Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

2.  In a separate pot, melt the margarine.  Stir in the sweet potato puree, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, milk, cinnamon, and salt.  When the quinoa has finished cooking, stir in the sweet potato mixture.

Top each serving with 1 teaspoon (or more) of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon (or more) of chopped almonds or walnuts.  Then dig in, close your eyes, and float away.  

Pure Oral Delight.


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Confession: I’m Fat.

12 May

Pre-Madilyn. Approximately 170lbs.

I’ve never been happy with the way that my body looks and I know for a fact that my friends, from Middle School to current, can attest to the fact that I put myself down way too much.  Now that I look at pictures of myself from pre-Madilyn, I am disgusted that I ever thought I was fat.  I’m not a small person.  I’m normally very muscular and athletic looking, but not fat.  There IS a difference.   I am super curvy and will never be “skinny” but I have some pretty awesome child bearing hips, so NAH!

Approximately 24 weeks pregnant with Grady

Upon being put on bed rest for 3 months with Madilyn, I gained 80lbs.  I kept my bad eating habits once she was born and then got pregnant with Grady 9 months later.  I lost 16lbs during my first trimester with Grady and then gained a total of 25 more pounds during the rest of my pregnancy, putting me at only 9lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight.  When I went for my first prenatal visit, I had lost 20lbs since having Grady but I’m still HUGE.  For me at least.

I just started watching “Biggest Loser” and I weigh as much as most of the women on the show but don’t feel as though I LOOK that big.  It’s pretty disgusting to me that I’ve gained so much weight and I promise that I’ll never complain about my curvy girl figure again if I can just get back down to a size 12.  I’ve come to realize that the number on a scale means nothing.  It’s all about how  my clothing fits and how I feel.  170lbs might look like a lot of weight on some women, but it looks GOOD on me.  249, however; does not.

I just joined forces with The Sparkle Mama on a Weight Loss Challenge where the grand prize is a stash of brand new Cloth Diapers.  I don’t know about you, but I need some accountability or else I will never, EVER be healthy again.  (I’m staying away from the “thin” moniker because “thin” is not my goal.  Healthy is.)   That said, even the challenge was not enough to scare me into eating healthy.  So I’m confessing my weight and pictures of myself in the most disgusting outfit known to man.  Because I want to be able to post on June 6, having lost at least 10 lbs and looking a little better, and a lot closer to my goal of being healthy again.

Salad with feta, almonds, Kashi Sesame crackers, and raspberry viniagrette

I am currently breastfeeding so being on a “diet” is not really in the cards for me.  My plan of attack is to stop eating processed sugar.  No more processed sugar for the next month.  I will also stay away from “whites” and eat only whole grains.  When I crave something savory to eat, I will allow myself some ranch dressing and raw broccoli.  When I crave sugar, I will allow myself fruit.  I will eat yummy lunches like this salad.  And I will exercise at least 3 times per week.  By exercise, I mean walking brusquely with my stroller.  I’d like to go to the gym but Madilyn will have NONE of that so walking it is.

So PLEASE subscribe and hold me accountable.  Cheer me along.  I’ll be posting my weight and pictures weekly and giving a synopsis about what I’ve been eating, if I’ve “cheated”, and how much exercise I’ve managed to squeeze in.  And if you feel so inclined, join me.

So here’s my confession:  

Front view

Side View

Yes, that says 249Lbs.

I Want my Body Back! (whatever that means)

22 Nov

It all happened way too quickly.  I was not pregnant and not looking to get pregnant one minute and the next minute I was most definitely pregnant.  Two pink lines and BAM.  My body began to change.  I went from being the head chairwoman of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” to Pamela Anderson Lee’s chest double.  I was 19.  Then my hips began to spread (even more) and my thighs became even more thunderous.  I was thick to begin with (save the lack of anything up top), so this journey even farther into womanhood was no fun for me.  I was athletic and fit but as soon as I got pregnant I gave all of that up, at least for a little while.  I gained 59 lbs while pregnant with my son.  I weighed 206lbs the day I gave birth to him and I was DISGUSTED.  I breastfed him for 9 months before he went on nursing strike, and during that period I only lost about 20 lbs.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had gone from gross to even more disgusting.  It didn’t help that I never had high self esteem to begin with.  That’s what happens when your mom dubbs you “Bubble Butt”, your dad always comments on how much more weight you could lose, and you’re on a dance team with a bunch of skinny minnies and your own measurements are 34-25.5-41.  Yeah.  No joke.  In any event, as soon as I quit nursing, I dropped the baby weight and was back to my “normal” (albeit still not skinny) self.  I even got my little boobies AND perfectly flat stomach back, although I’m not sure my hips ever went quuuiiiiiiiite back to where they were prior to pregnancy.

My favorite tattoo, which hasn't seen the light of day in almost 2 years, situated on big hips and a flat stomach. 1 year before getting pregnant with M. (note huge stretch marks on hips acquired while pregnant with #1. I love those now too)

Life handed me its own sets of twists and turns in the years following.  A divorce and another big break up later, I found myself caring more for me, handling my body with more TLC, and wanting to look fantastical again.  I had been diagnosed with PCOS which is a syndrome largely controlled by wacky hormones.  My doctor immediately put me on a super-strict diet and I lost 30 lbs just by changing the way I ate.  I then started working out for 2 hours/day, 5 days/week and got down to a size 10 for the first time since elementary school.  (Note:  I have not grown one inch taller since sixth grade.  Puberty came early for me and I was massively tall at an early age, I’m quite average now.  And for those of you wondering, I was a 12 – 14 in high school, at my most fit.)  I kept that trim (for me), muscular body for about 2.5 years, until Kyle and I started dating.  Roll in the happy weight.  I gained about 20 lbs over the course of about 6 months when we started dating.  Once again, I had never been happy with the way that I looked, even when I was working out all the time and looked great, so once those 20 lbs came on, I felt even more undesirable.

Note small waist and thunder thighs (6 months before getting pregnant with M)

I got pregnant in December 2008 with our daughter.  I had that extra 20lbs hanging on and was determined to not gain much weight while pregnant this time.  I was on a roll until I got put on bed rest for nearly 3 months and like BAM, I gained 80lbs.  Count them.  Eighty.  I won’t tell you what I weighed the day I had her because to be honest, I don’t even know myself.  I could tell that I was gaining weight rapidly while on bed rest and I didn’t allow my doctor to tell me my weight.  My best friend had always been exercise (so that I could eat whatever I wanted to), and because I wasn’t allowed off of my back, I couldn’t very well get that extra cardio in every day.  Change the way I eat, you say?  Yeah.  Screw YOU!  You’d eat cookies all day long if you were on bed rest too.  By the time Madilyn was born, I was HA-UGE (for me), and my boobies had grown to enormous proportions.  40E’s.  FOURTY E’S!  Just hearing that makes me want to run screaming in a different direction, leaving my boobs behind me.  I hated the pups but loved nursing so I kept on keeping on.  Gone were the days of low-cut sundresses.  When you have cleavage, you can’t wear nice things like that because you look like a floozy.  Crap, I couldn’t find ANYTHING to go over my new “girls”.  I know that, that probably sounds insane to some of you.  I know plenty of girls who have big boobs (real and fake), and that’s great for them.  My mom has implants for goodness sake!  But I’ve never, EVER felt the need to have a big chest to prove myself.  As a matter of fact, I can honestly say (because I’ve been huge and super-small), that I feel my most sexy when I have a small chest.  Perhaps that’s because my booty more than makes up for what I’m lacking up top.  Boobs just make me look fat, even when I’m not.

Me (left) and my crazy curviness (B's enhanced by superior bra). 6 months before getting pregnant with M.

I had planned on losing weight while nursing this time but it didn’t happen, yet again.  I held onto every pound that I had gained.  I have very few clothes that fit and can’t even bring myself to wear skirts and dresses (once a wardrobe staple) because my THIGHS TOUCH.  You ladies know how irritating that is, right?  I knew that I wanted to nurse Madilyn for at least 2 years but I wasn’t planning on staying fat forever so I decided that around her first birthday we would reevaluate things so that I could lose some serious weight.  The really funny thing is that when Madilyn was 9 months old, I got pregnant again.  My first thought?  “I’m going to be fat for at least 2 more years.  Shit.”  My second thought?  “I want my B’s back.”

(un)Luckily, I was super sick during my first trimester this pregnancy.  I lost 16lbs which sounds tragic to most mothers but it was

I like big butts

You can thank my husband for his obsession with my butt & this picture.

quite an accomplishment for me.  Granted I spent my days lying by the toilet waiting to heave up every last drop of saliva that I swallowed.  But hey, I lost 16 lbs so there’s a bright side to everything, right?  I was miraculously able to nurse Madilyn through the first trimester of my pregnancy.  I’m still not sure how because I wasn’t eating or drinking anything.  Right around her 13th month, I dried up.  I blame it on 3 months of involuntarily starving myself.  In any event, in a week I went from a 40E to a 38D.  I haven’t been this happy in my LIFE.  I still hate these puppies, they’re way too big for my taste but I’m much happier with them.  Now my stomach is growing again and I’m still at a 9lb deficit.  As big as I feel when I look in the mirror, I have never been more comfortable with my body.  I’m not happy being chunky but I’m comfortable with who I am.  My husband adores me and reminds me several times daily how happy I make him, how attracted to me he is, and how sexy I am.  Seriously?  I don’t get it but I relish the compliments.

I still long every day for the moment I can have my 34B’s back but more than anything I’m looking forward to having my curves back.  I think for the first time in my life, I love my non-proportioned body and I MISS it.  My “bubble butt” and my flat chest are what make me, ME.  I can’t wait for the day I can slip back into my size 10 jeans and size small T-shirt or my low-cut sundresses that don’t show cleavage (because it doesn’t exist).  But for now I am going to enjoy being pregnant, savor every nursing moment, and do whatever it takes for my body to build babies and produce milk.  I am going to do my best to not loathe my lumpy thighs and hips, despite walking by the stick-thin mommies with perfect pregnant bodies or the rail-thin chicks with 3 day old infants.  And I will love my big ole’ booty (when I get my skinny, small waist back).  Take THAT, Cosmo!

What I'm workin' with NOW (24 weeks pregnant)

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